April 9, 2024
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A bill to revoke Israeli citizenship from terrorists who have received monetary compensation from the Palestinian Authority passed the first reading in the Knesset on Monday evening, Jan. 30 after being approved by the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee that morning.

It passed with 89 votes, representing broad support from the coalition and opposition. The bill also received bipartisan support in the committee.

The fledgling law establishes a relationship between terrorists and the PA, which would allow their deportation to Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The decision to revoke citizenship would, according to the bill, be introduced by the interior minister. The Justice Minister would then have seven days to respond, and the court would have 30 days.

According to the committee’s legal adviser, Tomer Rosen, the approval of the attorney-general to revoke citizenship of a terrorist would not be required since “there is strong evidence that proves both the breach of trust and the relationship to the Palestinian
Authority.”

According to the committee, it would be enough to establish that there was just one payment from the PA for the law to apply. Data showed that about 70% of terrorists receive compensation from the PA, the committee stated.

The committee heard from the families of victims of terrorism in favor of the bill. One representative of the Forum of Life told of how he had a Molotov cocktail thrown at his car while his family was inside it.

“He ruined my life and he’s living like a king,” he said. The man who threw the fire bomb has since married and fathered two children while in prison.

The committee vote on the bill came just a few days after a series of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem in which seven were killed and five injured in the shooting attacks.

“Over the weekend, hearts were broken, mine and all of the nation of Israel,” said coalition head Ofir Katz. “When you bow your head to terrorism, you get more terrorism. We will respond with a strong hand. We have a public and moral duty to every bereaved family to pass this law. It is not possible that while our sisters and brothers are bleeding to death, candy will be handed out across the road. Terrorists can’t be here. Their place is in Gaza.”

On Saturday night, Jan. 28, following multiple terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, a proposal to deport the families of terrorists was raised at the cabinet meeting.

At the meeting, Likud MK Hanoch Milikowsky called to “deport the families.” He referred to the judicial reforms proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin at the beginning of January, saying that without the reforms, there would be legal barriers to proposed measures against terrorists.

The legislation is the brainchild of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an NGO that has been heavily involved in issues related to the P.A.’s pay-for-slay program. IDF Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, director of legal strategies for PMW, told JNS that he expects the bill to become law within two to three weeks.

The proposed law is one deeply wished for by families of terror victims. Although there is a law on the books to revoke citizenship, Hirsch said it involves a “long and arduous process” and “there is no certainty at the end how the judge will decide.” The new bill would strip citizenship from a terrorist within six weeks, start to finish.

Micah Lakin Avni, whose father was killed by terrorists on the No. 78 bus in Jerusalem in October 2015, told JNS, “This is a law that should pass as soon as possible with a 100% majority. There is no conscionable argument for opposing this law. Any Knesset member who opposes this law will essentially be saying, ‘I support rewarding acts of terror aimed at killing Jews and destroying the State of Israel.’

Hirsch, who also heads the Minister of Interior’s National Advisory Committee for the Cancellation of Citizenship, expects the law to act as a major deterrent for would-be terrorists. Although the terrorists carry out acts in the name of Palestinian nationhood, none of them appears to want to live under Palestinian rule.

“I think there are many terrorists who will forgo the payments in fear of losing their citizenship. When someone who lives in Jerusalem and can wander around the country freely suddenly finds that he’s going to find himself not only in prison but also potentially expelled to Gaza, it’s quite a deterrent,” Hirsch said. “I think it’ll be a deterrent to carrying out terror at all. And those who have already carried out their acts of terror will suddenly have the fear of God put in them that they will be released not to Jerusalem, not back to their cushy life, but suddenly to Gaza.”

By Michael Starr/JPost.com and combined sources

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